Amazing Grace

1782 Words4 Pages

Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace is a book about the trials

and tribulations of everyday life for a

group of children who live in the poorest congressional

district of the United States, the South Bronx. Their lives

may seem extraordinary to us, but to them, they are just as

normal as everyone else. What is normal? For the children

of the South Bronx, living with the pollution, the sickness, the

drugs, and the violence is the only way of life many of them

have ever known.

In this book, the children speak openly and honestly about

feeling 'abandoned', 'hidden' or 'forgotten' by our nation, one

that is blind to their problems. Studying the people

themselves would only get us so far in understanding what

their community is really like and why they feel this way.

Jonathan Kozol really got to know the people individually.

We can take his knowledge and stories to try for a better

understanding of the environment in which they live. By

doing this, we can explore the many reasons why the people

have problems, what some levels of intervention could be,

and possibly find some

solutions to making the South Bronx a healthier and safer

place for these children and others to live.

Problem Identification

The environment in which we study these people can only

be defined by first taking a look at possible reasons why the

people have problems. Some of the problems discussed in

Amazing Grace have festered throughout the United States

for some time now. The high numbers of drug users in the

community, the high amounts of gang-related violence, and

the numerous cases of people who have contracted the

AIDS virus are just some of the problems that have arisen in

this ghetto. There are many differences between this

community and others in the United States, one of which is

that the government has grouped these people all together

and made a ghetto of the lowest income families. This has

ostracized them from the rest of the nation. It has given

them many abandonment issues to deal with, while also

telling them they are not worthy of living among the wealthier


Environmental factors are involved in the problems arising in

the South Bronx. Pollution, for

example, could be the biggest source of the high number of

children in the community who have asthma.

Asthma is a condition in which one has trouble breathing.

Without clean ...

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...s for

the people in

these neighborhoods have gotten to be that of violence and

drugs. These are not healthy norms. To

change them, the communities could use more education on

social issues in the schools and communities to

help the people learn to live healthier lifestyles, to get the

word out that violence and disruptance are

not all right, and to help the people obtain some community

unity. Getting some of the well known

community members involved in politics is another way they

could get their voices heard and let the

government know their needs and desires. Support groups

held for people with AIDS, for people who have lost loved

ones, and also for people who just need a place to talk


their emotions and get their frustrations out, would help the

community as a whole and get more people

involved in the healing process of that community. If the

people in the South Bronx would act as a

community bound together to help themselves and each

other, there would be less tolerance for deviant

behavior among it's members. Then the ones who act

defiantly could be out-numbered, and the good

citizens of the South Bronx could reclaim their homes and

their lives.

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